Prophets: Men of The Desert God

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Track Listing

1. Overture (9:15)

(Father of Monotheism)

2. The birth of Abraham and his Beginnings. (2:39)

3. The Call: "The Lord said to Abraham, 'Go forth.'" Abraham leaves his homeland for the Promised Land. (2:39)

4. Sarah and Abraham in Egypt. Hagar meets Sara and Abraham. Ishmael is born. (6:18)

5. The Tests of the Covenant. (4:05)

6. Abraham's final test, the near sacrifice of his son. The Lord now says “You have fulfilled your Destiny..”His son is saved from the sacrifice (3:38)

(The Great Messenger to warn the world: A Genesis Story)

7. The birth of Noah and his Beginnings. (3:19)

8. The struggle to warn the people: "Repent, Stop worshiping idols or God will flood the world." (3:21)

9. The building of the Ark. (3:15)

10. The Flood (3:29)

11. The first morning after the flood, Noah comes out of the Ark. The Rainbow becomes a sign of the covenant between Man and God. (2:02)

(Leader of the Exodus of the Israelites and the Bringer of the Ten Commandments)

1. Moses is born and sent down the Nile river in a basket. Moses' beginnings. (2:33)

2. The Lord calls to Moses to return to Egypt and to free the Israelites from bondage. (2:09)

3. The Hebrew Slave Theme.The Ten Plagues of Egypt. Moses parts the Sea. (4:21)

4. All arrive at Mount Sinai. God delivers the Ten Commandments to Moses. (3:50)

5. The Promised Land... (1:45)

(The Son of Man, The Great Teacher, Healer and The Restorer of Judaism)

6. The Virgin birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and his Beginnings. (2:43)

7. The Miracles of Jesus: From a few pieces of bread and fish he feeds thousands. Resurrection of the dead and sight to the blind. (3:14)

8. The Teachings and Restoration of the Mosaic Laws. (4:52)

9. The Trial of Jesus, Crucifixion and Resurrection. (4:31)

10. Jesus in India. (2:37)

(The Bringer of the Quran and The Restorer of the Worship of the One True God)

11. Prophet Muhammad born in 570 CE, Mecca. Early life and beginnings. Businessman and Trader. (1:56)

12. Muhammad meets and marries Khadijah. The Famiily and retreats to Mount Hira. (2:02)

13. A cave in Mount Hira: First Revelation from Angel Gabriel "Iqraa" (Recite in the name of your Lord.) (3:56)

14. The first three years of his mission. The Quraish Persecutions. Emigration to Abyssina. (2:49)

15. Prophet Muhammad's last Pilgrimage, 632 CE. The Last Revelation from Angel Gabriel. (3:17)

Liner Notes

June, 2005-

In the spring of 2004, when I began composing music inspired by the lives of the prophets, I knew the process would be a be a journey filled with many challenges. In the beginning, I was not sure that I possessed the abilities and resources needed to accomplish this task. Shortly after I completed “Santiago and Islands in The Gulf Stream” (after Hemingway novels set in the Caribbean), I began composing the principal themes for each of the five prophets. Completion of the main themes provided a strong foundation, allowing the work to evolve into variations and sub-themes. This expansion revealed many dimensions of each prophet. All themes are interlinked with common characteristics, which are mental and physical powers, strength, cour- age, faith, sacrifice and obedience to God.

The work begins with a classic overture similar to an opera or a classic movie score. All introductions to the principle themes include God’s motif, which is heard in the beginning. Horns, low strings, and timpani are battling out major and minor chords, as if to imply God is the major chord and humans are the minor. The major chords finally come to a climax with full orchestra. This symbolizes God’s statement that all must be prepared for the prophets to come and his messages will come forth. After this climax, all the principle “Prophet” themes are heard: Abraham, Moses, Noah, Jesus and Muhammad then God’s motif is heard for the finale.

Abraham - The music is meant to convey strength, courage, sacrifice and the struggles of this extraordinary individual. Abraham’s theme is mainly heroic and is heard throughout, delving into different variations. Through the music, one can see Abraham as he endures several severe tests with full brass and choruses sounding his achievements. The ending signifies the most difficult time for Abraham, when he makes the decision to sacrifice his son.

Noah - Noah is born into a wicked world of barbarians filled with hatred and violence. Noah’s theme throughout this section signify that Noah is righteous and committed to only one God in an age where people worship multiple gods. We hear through his themes his struggles as well as his good tidings.

Moses - the Moses section has two principle themes: Moses, the Man and the Hebrew Slaves. The music gradually transforms and transcends into variations as we see Moses experience the important steps in his life. In the Ten Commandments move- ment, we hear many themes. Abraham’s heroic theme comes again urging us to have faith in one God and obey God’s laws. The pipe organ is heard, which represents The Commandments of God.

Jesus - Jesus too is born into a world of confusion and violent age. God blesses him with many miracles so people will believe that he is a true prophet with important messages from God. The music here shows the full glory of his miracles and his great struggles as a teacher and prophet. The pipe organ is heard in this section to represent Christ and Christianity. This is the only other time the organ is heard.

Muhammad - The bringer of the Quran for the world. In this section of the music, it is important to note that Prophet Muham- mad was the last in a series of great prophets. We see him as a great peaceful man. We are also shown his beginning as a tradesman to the true glory of God’s voice spoken through Angel Gabriel to him in a cave in Mt. Hira. In this section, the listener can hear a slight variation of the Moses theme to show Gabriel came to visit Moses as well.

I chose these five prophets for this compostion because I thought they best represent universal humanity but the work is totally dedicated to all prophets of God.

(The Father of Monotheism)

Abraham is viewed throughout the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim worlds as the patriarch and founder of Monotheism, or the belief in one true God.

Born in Mesopotamia in the 2nd millennium B.C., God called Abraham to found a new nation later revealed to him as Canaan. He obediently obeyed the commands of God, with whom he formed a covenant that his “seed” would inherit the land. The story of Abraham is more than the story of one man. By passing several severe tests of faith, and continuing to trust in God and God’s covenant, Abraham lived a legacy which has made him the patriarch of the Jewish Nation. The covenant between Abraham and God leaves both parties with commitments to one another. God first asks that Abraham leave his homeland for the land that was promised to him and his descendants. In his new land Abraham is to found a great nation. The most significant demand that God makes of Abraham is that he and his descendants fully commit to a belief in one true God.

While Sarah and Abraham were passing through Egypt on the way to the Promised Land, Hagar, an Egyptian girl, became a handmaiden for Sarah. Since Sarah was childless, she asks Abraham and Hagar to conceive a child. Abraham and Hagar agree, and give birth to their child, Ishmael. The relationship between Sarah and Hagar grows bitter. This bitterness causes Hagar to want to leave, but she is reassured that she should stay by an angel sent of God.

Thirteen years later God promises Abraham and Sarah that they will bear a son who will inherit his covenant. As a sign of this promise God demands all males living in the household be circumcised now and forever.

Sarah gave birth to a son as the Lord promised, and he was named Isaac. In fulfillment of the covenant Isaac was circumcised on the eighth day. Abraham loved his son very much. The Lord wished to see whether Abraham loved his son more than God. This is when Abraham faced his most difficult test.

When the boy had grown up, God said to Abraham: “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” When they reached the top of the mountain, Abraham erected an altar upon which he placed the wood. He then bound his son and laid him atop the altar. Abraham put forth his hand and took the sword in order to sacrifice his son. But behold, an angel from heaved cried out to him saying “Abraham, Abraham” and he answered “Here I am” and the angel said to him “Lay not your hand upon the boy, neither do anything to him.” This was Abraham’s final test of faith proving his willingness to submit to the will of God. Abraham’s struggles are a model which parents ought to imitate. Abraham teaches us to love our children much, but not so much as to transgress the laws of God.

Abraham is linked with many characteristics and traits: righteousness, wholehearted commitment to God, peace (such as when he settled a boundary dispute with his nephew Lot), compassion (such as when he bargains with God to spare the people of Sodom and Gomorrah), hospitality (such as when he welcomes three visiting angels), and heroism (such as when he rescues Lot and his family from a raiding party). He appears as both a man of great spiritual depth and strength, and a man with com- mon human weaknesses and needs. Abraham’s courage, faith, sacrifice, obedience and trust in one supreme God illustrate and emphasize a model of how humans should live their lives.

(A Genesis Story: The Great Messenger to Warn the World)

The Old Testament Story of Noah and the flood is told in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religious texts. In Islam most of the fo- cus lies on what happens before the flood occurs. In contrast, Judaism and Christianity focus primarily on life during the flood. Noah, a pious man, is sent by God to spread warning that people must repent and stop worshipping idols or the Lord will bring forth a great flood. The flood would be so great and catastrophic that everything on Earth would perish.

Noah was a righteous man born into an age filled with deceit, violence, hatred, and corruption. According to the book of Gen- esis, God beheld the corruption of the earth and was determined to destroy it. He gave Noah divine warning of the impending disaster and made a covenant with Noah to save him and his family. God instructed Noah to build an ark and take unto it one male and one female of all the worlds animals from which the stocks might be replenished. Consequently, according to this narrative, the entire surviving human race descended from Noah’s three sons. Such a genealogy sets a universal frame within which the subsequent role of Abraham as the father of Israel’s faith could assume its proper dimensions.

The attempts Noah makes to warn everyone, especially those in the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, become futile. God instructs Noah to build the ark and warns him that rains will come in the near future. Shortly after the ark was completed the floods began and continued for 40 days and 40 nights. After 150 days the waters finally receded.

When the waters recede, God tells Noah to come out of the ark with his family and to bring forth every living thing that is on the ark so that they may multiply. The Lord then promises Noah that “never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” The rainbow became a sign of this covenant.

The story of Noah reminds us of our humanity and our limitations on Earth. It reminds us that we all have a responsibility to treat each other respectfully and to abide by a standard of laws so that we may live peacefully and righteously in a civilized society.

(The Leader of the Exodus of the Israelites and the Bringer of the Ten Commandments)

Moses is considered the greatest prophet in Judaism and is the most frequently cited individual in the Quran. The Torah, the Bible, and the Quran all relate similar stories of Moses role as leader of the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt. All three books chronicle the evolution of a man into the leader of a nation of people with one common goal.

Moses was born in the 13th or 14th century, B.C. When he was a baby his mother sent him down the Nile in a basket to save him from the Pharaoh’s decree that all male Jewish children be killed. The Pharaoh’s daughter discovers the basket floating down the river. He is raised by his sister Miriam until he is a teenager, when he is returned to the Pharaoh’s daughter to be raised as her own.

When he grows into a young man Moses comes across an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and takes to the defense of the Hebrew. Moses strikes and kills the Egyptian. Pharaoh learns of the murder and orders Moses’ execution. Moses flees death by travel- ing to Midian where he rescues the daughter of a local priest. He weds her, and they have a son named Gershom. Many years pass, Pharaoh dies, and the Israelites cry out to God to free them from bondage. While tending to his flock one day Moses discovers a blazing bush that is not consumed by the fire. Upon examination of the bush Moses hears the Lord calling out to him, instructing him to return to Egypt and lead the Israelites to freedom. Moses is concerned that no one will believe him but the Lord reassures him that he will succeed.

Moses meets his brother Aaron in the desert and together they return to Egypt. Moses reveals God’s word to the Israelites and they believe it as truth. Moses and Aaron then approach the Pharaoh and ask that he release the Israelites. He refuses Moses and God’s demands, and so his land is subjected to a series of ten plagues unleashed by the fury of God. The chaos convinces the Pharaoh to release the Israelites and they flee Egypt for freedom.

For nearly forty years the Israelites wandered in the desert. During this time their faith in one God was tested and tried. Even- tually Moses and the Israelites reach the foot of the Holy Mount Sinai where God calls to Moses. Moses climbs the mountain, and God speaks to him revealing His Ten Commandments. Moses is gone, atop the mountain for a long time and his people begin to lose faith and start worshipping idols. When Moses returns to see this spectacle he becomes angry and throws down the stone tablets, shattering them. The idol they were worshipping is destroyed, and Moses urges his people to have faith in only one God. He returns to the mountain where the Commandments are written again.

The Jews continue to wander through the desert toward the Promised Land. Moses is allowed only to see, but not enter the land. He climbs to the top of Mt. Nebo which overlooks Canaan and the Lord says: “This is the land which I swore to Abra- ham, Issac, and Jacob.”

(The Son of Man, The Great Teacher and Healer and The Restorer of Judaism)

Jesus of Nazareth, the Galilean, was born around the 4th century B.C. in Bethlehem. He was born of a virgin birth, conceived by Mary, and son of Joseph. Christianity and Islam both recognize the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The holy book of Is- lam, the Quran, details the life of Jesus, the virgin birth, his mission as a prophet to the Israelites, and his crucifixion. Muslims accept the story of Jesus as in harmony with the Bible, and have dedicated an entire chapter in the Quran to the Virgin Mary.

Jesus’s mission was confined to the Children of Israel. He was sent to earth of God in order to revive the true spirit of the Torah and clarify Judaic Law. He purified and revitalized Judaism. As a follower of Moses, Jesus did not change or reject Mosaic Law, but came to fulfill the Law, according to the book of Matthew.

His teachings and miracles are recorded in the New Testament, which is essentially a theological document that makes the discovery of the “historical Jesus” difficult. Jesus’ message was quite unique, and challenged the socio-cultural norms of the time. Many Judaic leaders thought his teachings were controversial and often misunderstood them. Even today he is one of the most talked about prophets throughout the world.

Jesus taught the importance of sharing love and peace with all mankind. He also taught on the law, and advocated ethical pu- rity. He demanded complete devotion to God; this was more important than a devotion to the self, or the family. Jesus showed mankind the love of God and the importance of faith by performing miracles, healing the sick, and resurrecting the dead. In about the year 30, AD, Jesus and his disciples went to Jerusalem from Galilee to observe Passover. Presumably they went a week early, as did many other Jews (perhaps as many as 200,000 or 300,000). They traveled to Jerusalem to be cleansed of “corpse-impurity.” While in Jerusalem Jesus spread his teachings, and debated with disbelievers. He predicted the destruction of the Temple which angered many. During the Passover meal Jesus blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples say- ing “take this and eat of it, this is my body which shall be given up for you.” He took the wine, blessed it, and shared it with his disciples saying “take this and drink of it, this is my blood, the blood of the new covenant, which shall be shed for you.” After supper, Jesus took his disciples to the Mount of Olives to pray. It was there that he was arrested by armed men sent by the chief of priests and led by Judas.

Jesus was then taken to King Herod who released him to The Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. Pilate then gave orders to have Jesus scourged and beaten. After he has received punishment, Pilate asks the crowds what to do with Jesus. Their verdict is to crucified. The Roman soldiers clothed him in purple robes and crowned him King of the Jews with a crown made of thorns. He was led to Golgotha, aided by Simon of Cyrene, bearing his cross. On top of the hill he was stripped of his clothes and nailed to the cross. He died at sunset during a wondrous storm.

What happened next, the Resurrection, would change history.

(The Bringer of the Quran and The Restorer of the Worship of the One True God)

The Prophet Muhammad was born in 570 CE in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Many consider Muhammad the last in the series of great prophets God has sent.

A young Muhammad began his career as a business man and trader. Beginning as early as age 12 he made extensive trade by camel caravan between the Yemen and the Mediterranean region, to him known as Gaza and Damascus. He brought goods from as far away as India and Ethiopia. By the age of 25 he had earned an impressive reputation, popularly known as “Al- Ameen,” a title which means “The Honest, The Reliable, and The Trustworthy.”

After returning from a trip to Syria Muhammad met Khadijah, his first wife. Together they had six children, four daughters and two sons. Muhammad adopted the habit of occasionally spending nights in a hill cave in his early family life. It was in this cave on Mt Hira, near Mecca, that he had a vision of a majestic being. One day a voice called to him saying “Iqraa,” meaning “read” or “recite.” The being who called to him was the Angel Gabriel. Muhammad explained to him that he was unable to read or write, but Gabriel was persistent and insisted that he listen and dictate through him. Gabriel then said “Recite in the name of your Lord who created. He created man from that which clings. Recite; and they Lord is most Bountiful, he who has taught by the pen, taught man what he knew not.” These revelations are the first five versus of chapter 96 of the Quran. Thus it was in the year 610 CE that the revelation began.

This first revelation terrified Muhammad. He fled the cave on Mt. Hira, and came home to his wife frightened and tired. He related his experience to her, and she reassured him that it was Allah who had revealed a mission for him because he spoke the truth, helped the poor, and was an honest man. Khadijah accepted the revelation as truth, and so, was the first person to accept Islam. Islam means peace by submission and obedience to the Will and Commandments of God.

The Angel Gabriel visited the prophet, commanded by God, and spoke to him in a series of Arabic versus over a period of 23 years. The revelations which Muhammad received were compiled into the book known as the Holy Quran. The Quran does not contain a single word of the Prophet, but is written in first person revealing God’s commandments to his creation. In one of the later revelations Muhammad was directed to preach Islam to others. In the first few years of his mission, nearly 50 people accepted Islam. This small group was comprised of all ages from a wide range of economic and social backgrounds. He recited revelations publicly and invited people to join the Islamic faith. This preaching angered the Quraish leaders, who viewed the teachings with hostility. They began to persecute believers of Islam, torturing them and boycotting their businesses. Those who were weak, poor, or slaves were publicly tortured. God asked Muhammad to be patient and continue with his mission of spreading the message of the Quran. Muhammad urged his followers to be patient as well, since he had not received a revelation to retaliate against the persecutors. When things became unbearable for the Muslims, the prophet advised them in his fifth year, 615 CE, to emigrate to Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia). The Quraish continued to make life very difficult for Muhammad and his followers for many years.

By 630 CE almost all of Arabia accepted Islam, a change which alarmed the two superpowers, The Byzantines and the Persians.

The Prophet Muhammad’s last pilgrimage occurred in 632 CE when he lead one hundred twenty thousand men and women. It was during this pilgrimage that he received his final revelation.

The mission of the Prophet Muhammad was to restore the worship of the One True God, the creator and sustainer of the universe as taught by the Prophet Abraham and all the Prophets of God. It was to demonstrate to humanity the laws of moral, ethical, legal, and social conduct.

Production Credits

United Media Productions, Ltd Presents
A Te Deum International Production
Prophets: Men of The Desert God - An Oratorio inspired by the lives of The Prophets

Recorded at U.M.P. Studios, June 5 & 6, 2005, Austin, Texas

Art Direction and Graphic Design by
Brian Williams

Liner Note Editors:
Jason Rydzewski, Thomas Markey and Sherry Madan

Additional Liner Note Editions by
Chelsea Cartwright

Associate Producers:
Barbara Ann Green and Michael Kintz

Religious Research:
Julian Blackman and Doloris Fishman.

Digital Equipment by Sony

A & R Coordinator:
Chad Canadey

Composed, Orchestrated, Performed and Produced by Casey Winn

Special Thanks to:
St. Edwards University
and The University of Texas, Austin, Texas

©2005 United Media Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.